Memorial of Saint Benedict, Abbot
July 11, 2020
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 93, the first of the royal psalms (93-99) which praise God as King.
As we pray with today’s verses, we can easily feel the psalmist stretching for a description of God Who is, of course, indescribable. Never having seen God, we can only imagine the Divine Being in human terms. This writer imagines God as a King beyond even the greatness of human kings, and it is a beautiful image:
The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
Like the psalmist, we may tend to paint God in the colors of those who have had greatest influence in our lives
- those with power over us, like parents and teachers
- those who have loved us, or failed to
- those in positions of success, and strength
Because all human models are flawed in some way, this tendency can give us a blurry, if not distorted picture of God.
Jesus came to correct our perspective.
Jesus showed us that, while we live on this earth, the glory of God is a hidden glory. It is robed in the suffering of the poor and abandoned. Its splendor is in the innocence of children. Its strength is in the hope of the sick and weak. Its beauty shines out to us in the vulnerability of our sisters and brothers.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us the tender image of God as One who cherishes every hair on our heads. As we pray today, we might let that gentle God reach down and caress any pain, exhaustion or fear, like a Mother brushing her child’s hair. Just be with God Who knows our needs. Be cradled in the splendrous robe.
Poetry: God’s True Cloak – Rainer Maria Rilke
We must not portray you in king’s robes, you drifting mist that brought forth the morning. Once again from the old paintboxes we take the same gold for scepter and crown that has disguised you through the ages. Piously we produce our images of you till they stand around you like a thousand walls. And when our hearts would simply open, our fervent hands hide you.
Music: George Frideric Handel – Chandos Anthem, #4/ Psalm 93 – O Sing Unto the Lord